While the option to travel disappeared abruptly at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, its return is going to be dragged out, slowly and haphazardly, over many months to come.
But states and territories are starting to lift anti-COVID measures, airlines are returning planes to the skies, and countries and regions are talking about travel bubbles, so the prospect of a holiday is well and truly coming back.
Overseas travel is still banned by the Federal Government, so domestic travel is the only current option for Australians.
But if you’re itching for a getaway after being stuck at home for months, here’s where you can go now, depending on where you live.
NSW doesn’t have border restrictions so visitors from other states can enter without having to quarantine.
NSW residents are allowed to travel through the state, including overnight stays. Travel into the ACT is also allowed.
Hotels and motels are operating in NSW and some major attractions are starting to re-open, such as the Sydney Tower Eye, which welcomed back guests on June 4.
Ski resorts are also gearing up for the snow season, but strict social distancing rules apply. Thredbo plans to open on June 22, while Perisher will open on June 24.
Like NSW, Victoria has no border restrictions, and visitors from other parts of the country don’t have to self-isolate on arrival.
All regional travel to holiday homes, private residences and tourist accommodation with no communal facilities is permitted across the state. Hotels and motels are open.
Victoria’s ski resorts are also getting ready for the upcoming season. Mount Buller will open on June 22 and Mt Hotham and Falls Creek will both open on June 24.
All travel throughout the ACT is permitted, including overnight stays. Travel into NSW is also permitted. The ACT does not have border restrictions, meaning interstate visitors are free to enter.
South Australia requires interstate travellers to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival as part of its border restrictions, which are under review.
However, regional travel is permitted in the state. Hotels and motels are open for business and caravan parks and campsites with shared facilities are allowed if cleaned properly.
As of Friday, June 5, there is no travel limit in place in Tasmania on where you can go in the state. Hotels, Airbnb properties and holiday homes in Tasmania are available for bookings from June 15.
However, visitors from other states and territories still have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in Tasmania.
All travel within the state is permitted, including overnight stays. Biosecurity zones, such as Uluru and Kakadu, remain closed until June 18.
Arrivals in the Northern Territory must self-isolate for 14 days.
The state Premier is encouraging residents to start enjoying holidays within their own state. State travel excludes biosecurity zones within the Kimberley, Pilbara and Ngaanyatjarraku and remote Aboriginal communities.
Hotels and motels are operating, along with holiday homes – except in the Kimberley.
However, strict border rules still apply in Western Australia, and no one can enter the state without being granted an exemption. This includes returning West Australian residents.
As of June 1, Queenslanders can travel across the state and stay in places overnight as part of next stage of restrictions easing.
Hotels and motels are open for business and caravan parks are limited to 20 people.
While it’s one of the country’s top holiday spots, Queensland has had some of its most strict border rules during the pandemic. Only residents and essential service workers can enter the state, and they need an entry pass.
The Queensland government is looking at relaxing those border restrictions.
WHAT ABOUT OVERSEAS TRAVEL?
Overseas holidays are still off-limits, with the Federal Government allowing few exemptions to its international travel ban.
Our best bets for an overseas trip anytime soon is travel bubbles with countries and regions that have similarly low levels of community transmission of COVID-19.
Australia and New Zealand has discussed a trans-Tasman travel bubble, and there is a push to extend it to other Pacific nations as well.
Bali and Israel have pushed for their own travel bubbles with Australia.
Japan is considering reopening its borders to people from a select few countries, including Australians, while Greece plans to welcome back Aussie travellers from June 15.